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Supplementing user web-browsing

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20120311456 patent thumbnailZoom

Supplementing user web-browsing


An apparatus and method of providing a user with a web-browser supplement is disclosed. One method includes providing access to a focal group, wherein the focal group includes at least one member having at least one association with the user. Access is provided to information associated with the at least one member having relevance to the focal group. Web browsing by the user is supplemented by the information of the members of the focal group.

Inventors: Jonathan Davar, Serge M. Krasnyansky
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120311456 - Class: 715738 (USPTO) - 12/06/12 - Class 715 
Data Processing: Presentation Processing Of Document, Operator Interface Processing, And Screen Saver Display Processing > Operator Interface (e.g., Graphical User Interface) >For Plural Users Or Sites (e.g., Network) >Network Resource Browsing Or Navigating



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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120311456, Supplementing user web-browsing.

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RELATED APPLICATIONS

This patent application patent application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/316,992, filed on Dec. 18, 2008, which claims priority to provisional patent application No. 61/008,957, filed Dec. 21, 2007, which in herein incorporated by reference.

FIELD OF THE DESCRIBED EMBODIMENTS

The described embodiments relate generally to web browsing. More particularly, the described embodiments relate to a method and apparatus for supplementing a user\'s web browsing.

BACKGROUND

The internet can connect individuals through, for example, a mesh of social networks, portals, commerce sites and forums. Many of these sites attempt to model relationships to facilitate commerce and build systems for providing recommendations. These social networks include many individuals that can interact with each other,

There is a lack, however, of a useful mechanism within social networks for mimicking interpersonal trust and reference networks. For example, if one needs to find a babysitter, a heart surgeon or a plumber, one generally turns to trusted friends to obtain references. That is, these referred service providers involve the well-being of family, and/or impact ones finances, and therefore, are typically naturally screened by the person looking for a reference. However, the recommendations provided by social networks do not include a personal connection between the recommender and the receiver of the recommendation. Additionally, the strength of the recommendations can be difficult to determine.

It is desirable to have a method, system and apparatus in which groups of commonly associated individuals can provide an internet user that is web browsing with additional intelligence. It is additionally desirable that the method, system and apparatus be adaptively updated as information associated with the groups change over time.

SUMMARY

One embodiment includes a method of providing a user with a web-browser supplement. The method includes providing access to a focal group, wherein the focal group includes at least one member having at least one association with the user. Access is provided to information associated with the at least one member having relevance to the focal group. Web browsing by the user is supplemented by information of the members of the focal group.

Another embodiment includes a method of overlaying web browsing with focal group intelligence. The method includes creating a focal group, wherein the focal group includes at least one other user having at least one association with the user. Information about the at least one other user having relevance to the focal group is obtained. Web browsing by the user is over-layed, thereby supplementing the web browsing by the user by providing information of the other users of the focal group.

Other aspects and advantages of the described embodiments will become apparent from the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, illustrating by way of example the principles of the described embodiments.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows an example of a user computing device that can utilize methods of supplementing web browsing of the user.

FIG. 2 shows the computing device of FIG. 1, and examples of supplementing web pages being browsed by the user.

FIG. 3 is a flow chart that includes steps of an example of a method of supplementing a user\'s web browsing.

FIG. 4A shows an example of a visual display that can be used to adaptively depict relationships between a user and members of a focal group.

FIG. 4B shows another example of a visual display that can be used to adaptively depict relationships between a user and members of a focal group.

FIG. 5 is a flow chart that includes steps of an example of a method of overlaying web browsing with focal group intelligence.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

As shown in the drawings for purposes of illustration, the described embodiments are embodied in an apparatus and method for supplementing web browsing of a user. The web browsing can be of any form including textual, audio or visual formats, and can be supplemented with any combinations of textual, audio or visual formats, or any other format that can be used for web browsing.

FIG. 1 shows an example of a computing device 110 that can utilize methods of supplementing web browsing of a user of the computing device 110. For this embodiment, the user\'s computing devices includes a plug-in 120. An embodiment of the plug-in 120 is a software program that when executed supplements the user\'s web browsing by supplementing information provided by the web browsing with information associated with a focal group. That is, the user\'s web browsing is improved by manipulating the information provided to the user based on intelligence and information provided by members of the focal group, or obtained by members of the focal group.

As shown, the computing device 110 is connected through a network 130 to web server 140 and a focal group server 150. For this example, the web server 140 allows the user to “surf” internet, and access web pages. The web pages provide the user with information related to a subject as generally (but not exclusively) determined by the user. The web server 140 and the focal group server 150 are shown as separate servers. However, it is to be understood that this is merely one example of how access to web page information and focal group information can be provided.

As shown, the focal group server 150 maintains information of the focal group. Generally, this information includes the members of one or more focal groups that have some relationship with the user. Additionally, the focal group server 150 can maintain information of each user of each focal group. As will be described, the members of the focal group can be one or more individuals and/or corporate entities. The focal group can be created, or borrowed from somewhere else. The information associated with each member can include many things, such as, for example, preferences, knowledge, history of interactions with the user, and/or experiences of the member. Additionally, the focal group information can be supplemented with focal group applications.

Supplementing Web Browsing

Supplementing the user\'s web browsing can be provided in one or more ways. The web browsing can be supplemented by, for example, providing additional information to information provided by a web page, filtering information of the web page, and/or sorting information of the web page. Again, the supplementation is based on the information associated with members of the focal group, and therefore, the intelligence of the focal group members can be used to the advantage of the user when web browsing.

Focal Groups

Generally, a focal group is a small restricted group of people who are associated based on activity or topic. The focal group can include, for example, a group of friends, family members or people with common interests. As will be described, a focal group can include any number of members. The member can be individual people or even corporate entities. The focal group can include, for example, a single person who is considered an expert in a particular subject area, or the focal group can include many individual who are commonly associated by some activity or other criteria. The focal groups can be formed, or borrowed from somewhere else.

Focal Group Information

As described, web browsing of the user is supplemented by the focal group information. The focal group information can include, for example, a proficiency of group members, a degree of affinity between group members, a history of proficiency and affinity of group members, a member\'s rating by group members, reviews and/or opinions of the member, any information contributed by members, events involving a group member, actions taken by a group member, requests for information put in by other group members for a group member, and/or member ownership of a product or usage of a service. It is to be understood that an embodiment includes the focal group information being dynamic. Actions by each of the focal group member can cause the focal group information to change.

The described embodiments can include various types of information associated with the members of the focal group. One type of information is the affinity of each focal group member with the user. The affinity can be adaptive, and is generally based on the strength of the relationship and level of interaction between the each focal group member and the user. The affinity can be “deduced” and/or “assigned”. An assigned affinity is one that is given by one focal group member to another, based on an individual perception or information. A deduced affinity is one that is computed automatically from several assigned affinities, based on one or more affinity formulas.

For other embodiments, another type of information is a proficiency of each focal group member. The proficiency can be adaptive based on the level of competence and/or expertise regarding a subject matter. Proficiency can be “deduced” and/or “assigned”. An assigned proficiency is one that is given by one focal group member to another, based on an individual perception or information. A deduced proficiency is one that is adaptively computed automatically from several assigned proficiencies.

For other embodiments, another type of information includes focal group applications that can, for example, extend the overlay and run within the framework of overlay. An example of a focal group application includes, for example, an “add to wish list” application, that includes an icon displayed on a web page, such that when the icon is clicked (selected), it adds a given item (displayed on the original web page) to a focal group member\'s wish list. (A wish list in this context is a list of items that the user wishes to own—the list is maintained by the focal group user so that other users can access it, and provide, for example, gift ideas).

Overlay

As described, an embodiment of the supplementing the user\'s web browsing includes providing the user with a web overlay. The overlay provides an intelligent software framework that runs focal group applications, supplements, filters, sorts and displays the browsed information.

Overlay Plug In

An embodiment of the overlay plug in includes a software component installed on a user\'s computer. For an embodiment, the plug in is installed in a web browser as an extension. For an embodiment, the purpose of the plug in is to provide the user with access to Focal Group servers and communicate with the servers. More specifically, this embodiment includes sending contextual information describing the web location being visited by the user, and/or receiving instructions and information and/or knowledge enabling the plug-in software to supplement the browsed info.

FIG. 2 shows the computing device of FIG. 1, and examples of supplementing web pages being browsed by the user. FIG. 2 includes two exemplary web pages 210, 220 that have been supplemented by information of a focal group.

The web page 210 provides an example of a web overlay that supplements a web page being displayed by the computing device 110 by providing additional information to the display that is, for example, related to the information of the original web page being displayed by the computing device. The additional information provides the user with related information from a more likely to be trusted source (the focal group). The web page 210 as viewed by the user includes the original web page text, but additionally includes the overlay 212 that includes supplement text that can be related to the information of the web page. The supplemental text of the overlay is derived or based on the information associated with the members of the focal group.

The web page 220 provides another example of a web overlay that supplements a web page displayed by a computing device 110 by filtering information of the web page 220. That is, based on the information of the focal group, information of the original web page is filtered, thereby providing the web user with a better presentation of the original web page based on the information of the members of the focal group. The overlay 214 can include filtered or sorted information of the information associated with focal group. For one embodiment, the sorting amid/or filtering of the information associated with the focal group is based on the information of the web page 220. That is, either or both the information of the web page, or the information presented by the overlay 214, can be filtered and/or sorted based on the other of the information of the web page and the information presented by the overlay 214.

FIG. 3 is a flow chart that includes steps of an example of a method of supplementing a user\'s web browsing. A first step 310 includes providing access to a focal group, the focal group comprising at least one member having at least one association with the user. A second step 320 includes providing access to information associated with the at least one member having relevance to the focal group. A third step 330 includes supplementing web browsing by the user by providing information of the members of the focal group.

As previously described, one embodiment includes a plug-in loaded on the user\'s computer, that when executed, supplements the user\'s web browsing. A more specific embodiment includes the plug-in providing the user with a web-browser overlay. Execution of the plug-in provides the user with the web overlay that supplements web browsing by the user. More specifically, one embodiment includes the web overlay providing the information associated with the at least one member that has relevance to the web browsing of the user. Other embodiments include the web overlay filtering, and/or sorting information of, for example, a web page based on the information associated with the at least one focal group member.

For proper operation, the plug-in has access to the focal group, and to the information associated with the at least one member of the focal group. As previously described, the access can be through a network connected to the user\'s computer, and to one or more servers that maintain the members of the focal group, and the information associated with each of the users of the focal group.

As previously described, an embodiment for supplementing the web browsing includes an overlay. Based on information of, for example, web page being browsed by the user, an embodiment includes the overlay providing at least some of the information of the at least one member of the focal group. The web browsing of the user is supplemented by providing the user with focal group intelligence. That is, the information provided by the overlay enhances and improves the user\'s web browsing by providing the user with additional intelligence as provided by the information of each of the members of the focal group.

One embodiment includes the information provided by the overlay relating to information of a web page being browsed by the user. That is, the overlay supplements the web browsing by providing additional information (focal group information) that is related to the information being provided by the web site. Additional information can include, for example, past experiences of one or more of the focal group members, and/or recommendations by the one or more focal group members based on the past experiences.

The overlay can additionally or alternatively use the information of the focal group to filters information of the web browsing. That is, the information provided by web browsing can be filtered based on the information of the focal group. All of the information provided be a web page may not be useful, and the user\'s web browsing can in some situations be improved by filtering the information of the web page. One method of filtering the information includes filtering it based on information of the members of the focal group.

For example, a user can visit on online book store and view a page displaying a set of books. However, if the user has the overlay plug-in enabled, the displayed set of books may be a subset of the original results of the query, wherein the subset displayed is based on the filtering performed by the overlay plug-in. That is, for example, only the books owned or reviewed by members of the Focal Group, or by members having a certain affinity to the user or proficiency in the subject matter may be displayed.

The overlay can additionally or alternatively use the information of the focal group to sorts information of the web browsing based on the information of the at least one member of the focal group. That is, the information of the web can be sorted based on the information of the focal group.

For example, a user can visit a website that provides restaurant reviews, and the user can submit a query to find a good restaurant in a particular area. Originally (without the overlay), the results of the query that are returned by the website, for example, is sorted by ratings given by random reviewers. However, if the user has the overlay plug-in enabled, the sorting of the displayed results are further improved by strategically positioning the reviews produced by the members of the user\'s focal group who have high affinity or high proficiency in the subject (restaurant knowledge).

The overlay can additionally or alternatively filter the information provided by the overlay based upon the information of the web page. For example, if a user is visiting a photography website, one embodiment includes the overlay plug-in displaying information about only those members of the user\'s focal group that have relevance to the browsed page(s) in the photography website. For example, a user looking at a camera review of a website views (on the display) only the information of those members of the focal group who have reviewed or own the camera.



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Data processing: presentation processing of document
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Key IP Translations - Patent Translations


stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20120311456 A1
Publish Date
12/06/2012
Document #
13588169
File Date
08/17/2012
USPTO Class
715738
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
06F3/00
Drawings
6



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